Monday, June 14, 2010

If you could only do one thing to be healthier..... choose walking

If you only had the time to add one thing to your day to make yourself feel better and live longer, that one thing should be walking regularly. Adding just 200 minutes of exercise a week to your schedule can make long lasting changes to your body.

Many people find that doing things for their health is one of the hardest things to fit into their daily lives. Constantly running around and taking kids to ball games, and other social commitments leaves little time for many people to think about themselves. I recommend that you add daily exercise to your schedule so that you are sure to make time for it. It is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.

In a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1989, 13,000 men and women were studied for eight years. The data showed that an unfit man could reduce his risk of death from all diseases by nearly 37 percent by becoming fit, and an unfit woman could reduce her risk by about 48 percent. *

Walking is so beneficial to your health and well being. Many studies have been done over the last several decades proving that walking is important to the mind and body. What are some of the benefits ?

  • Lowered blood pressure - whether you walk 30 minutes several times a week or 10 minutes several times a day, regular walking has been proven to lower blood pressure by about 5 points. A 40 minute walk can reduce blood pressure for 7 hours!

  • Lowered blood sugar - regular walking can lower blood glucose levels. Get that 200 minutes in every week to prevent type 2 diabetes and reduce the symptoms!

  • Lower cholesterol - Walking can improve HDL (good cholesterol) which in-turn helps to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol.

  • Improved circulation - Getting the heart pumping forces blood into the tiny capillaries and increases oxygen distribution to the tissues.

  • Decreased risk of heart disease - According to The New England Journal of Medicine, August 26, 1999 Walking 3-4 hours a week can reduce female heart disease risk by 30-40%. Walking is a known benefit for cardiovascular health!

  • Reduced inflammation - Getting that oxygen to all parts of your body with increased circulation also helps reduce inflammation. The blood carries O2 and nutrients out to the capillaries and brings the trash back to the liver and kidneys to be cleaned out.

  • Reduction of stress - walking reduces stress. It gets you away from constant stressors and if you get outdoors, into the fresh air. A little sun adds some vitamin D which is also known to aid with depression or mood enhancement.

  • Improved mood/reduced depression - If you are depressed, get outside and go for a walk. Moving around and getting some sunshine and fresh air can do a lot for your mental state. Getting away from television and constant noise can also help. Listen to the birds, smell some flowers and enjoy the outdoors.

  • Reduced cancer risk - Studies show that not only does walking reduce the risk factors for heart disease but people in those same studies also show that they have a lower risk of getting cancer.

  • Bone Building / reduces risk of Osteoporosis - Walking is very beneficial to your muscles, tendons, cartilage and bones. You have heard that old saying " if you don't use it you lose it"? well that is definitely true when it comes to bones, muscles, tendons and cartilage.

  • Weight Management - Walking about 2.5 miles an hour for 40 minutes burns about 175 calories. That equals out to about a mile every 16 minutes. Do that 3 times a week and you have burned 525 calories.

  • Better sleep - More oxygen, using your muscles, better mood and circulation all add to a better nights sleep.

  • Improved energy - the more you walk the better you feel, which in turn gives you more energy. Get up and move around to give yourself more energy.

  • Improved immunity - helps clear lymphatic system. Walking helps the immune system by clearing out the lymphatic system. Keep your system cleaner and healthier by walking.

  • Brain health - walking improves circulation which in turn benefits the brain. You should also challenge your brain by doing things that require thinking every day. Read, do crossword puzzles or put together puzzles.

As you can see... walking has many benefits and if there was only one thing you could do to make yourself feel better, have more energy, live longer and be more mobile, it should be the thing you do.

Of course there are lots of other things you can do to increase your odds of living a fuller, healthier life. Eating right, which means increasing your vegetable and fruit intake and eating a variety of healthful foods. Avoiding inflammatory foods such as cow's milk, pork, chocolate, soda, diet drinks and fried foods. Supplementing your diet with additional nutrition when it's necessary is also very important. As we age, we lose the ability to build and to process some of the nutrients we need to be as healthy as possible. Supplementation is required in these instances to make sure we have what we need to build strong bones and new healthy cells.

CoQ10 is a good example of a supplement that we have a harder time making as we age. Calcium is a good example of a nutrient that we have more trouble breaking down and using, as we get older, because our stomach acid is not as strong as it was when we were young. For more information on supplementation, please come visit us at the office. We would love to help you get more information on your individual needs.

Have a good week and get out there and do some walking this week!


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